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Bookworm busted for £100k online book scam

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Police are questioning a man after a raid on his home unearthed £100,000 of books allegedly stolen online. The bookworm from deepest darkest Deeplish, near Rochdale, pretended to be a linguistics professor at the University of Manchester to buy books over the Internet. He contacted online booksellers in the US, Denmark, India and Thailand, none of which asked him for credit card details before sending him goods. The 40-year-old unemployed man had eclectic tastes, including A Critical Survey of Studies and the Languages of Sulawesi and An Early Javanese Code of Muslim Ethics. Some of the books were worth up to £300 each. The scamster was rumbled by an antiquarian in America, whose suspicions prompted Greater Manchester police to investigate. They found books stacked in every room in the house. "We had a search warrant, but we didn't really need it," said Detective Inspector Martin Jeffs. "Every time we opened a door there were books just stacked up in piles. They were everywhere: the living room, the bedrooms, the bathroom, even the hallway." Police will be kept busy with the haul – around 4,000 books were found, and the job of cataloguing them is expected to keep two bobbies off the beat for up to eight weeks. Detectives were said to be puzzled by the man's motives, according to the Daily Telegraph. "He purports to speak 16 different languages," said Det Insp Jeffs. "His explanation was that he had got them for his personal use. He is 40 now, and it would take him until he's 100 to read them all. "I think you could say he's rather an eccentric." The man was arrested on suspicion of obtaining property by deception, and has been released on police bail. ®

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